Hey friends!

How have you been? Seems like forever.

This past weekend we demolished Day 1 of a 6 week Boot Camp I’m hosting locally. We had the perfect weather and a great crowd. Locals if you’re interested, it’s every Saturday from 7am-8am. Full details can be found on my facebook page.

After the boot camp, I made this dessert to celebrate my dad’s birthday. (forgot to snap a picture) Everyone said it was good. I love pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice muffins, etc but I am not a fan of pure pumpkin or pumpkin pie. It’s growing on me. But I didn’t try the dessert because of that. It did get rave reviews from the fam though.

We shared some quality family times and can I just tell you it’s going to be a mad house in a couple years. We have four little boys in our family that are all 2 and under. All but one are walking right now and they are crazy as is. I can’t imagine when they start to wrestle one another!

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Today I wanted to touch base on a couple tips to save time with Green Giant.

Disclaimer: I was provided a prize pack by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op but all opinions are always 100% true and my own.

I love veggie steamers. A lot. 99% of the time they are the go-to vegetable in our house. They’re quick, easy, and frozen at the peak season so they maintain all their nutrients.

I was given the opportunity to try any Green Giant product I wanted. Generally I go for the plain vegetables. No sauce, no potatoes, etc.

This time I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried one with noodles and sauce. Who am I? ;)

I initially planned on creating a dish with it but I was honestly a little too antsy to wait so I busted it out for a snack.

I generally think saucy steamers aren’t the best in the flavor category so I typically made things homemade. These changed my mind about that. I was surprised at the tenderness of the noddles, the crispness of the broccoli (I know I’m not alone that some broccoli steamers leave you with mush), and the creaminess of the cheese sauce. It was really pretty darn good.

I want to try it again and add some shredded chicken to it.

One new thing that Green Giant has been trying to promote is creating easy and delicious meals with their steamers. I love this idea. These are just a couple you can find on their website.

How good do those quesadillas look?

Check out their website for more great recipes and a $1 off coupon!

 

Questions for you:

Do you use steamers at home?

What’s your favorite kind?

How would you incorporate them into a meal?

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You guessed it. Work is still crazy.

I figured I should recap Gavin’s 1st birthday party though before it gets to be his second. Life happens like that, ya know.

I did a safari theme (or jungle theme, depending on who you ask). My plan was to use decorations from the baby shower to save money, but I didn’t end up using a single one. #fail

I DID, however, manage to get all Suzy Homemaker and craft some decor.

I ended up getting sick the week before his party when all the last minute details should have been taken care of (and didn’t happen). I’m so grateful for my friends and family. My mom ran to the store to pick up paper necessities, my friend did my grocery shopping (picture extreme couponers), my sister made the shredded chicken, my sister in law made some taco dip, and one of my friends came to help decorate. I can’t thank my parents enough for all their help. I swear the party wouldn’t have even taken place if it wasn’t for them. So THANK YOU! <3

I was very thrilled with how the sign in table turned out.

I set out a Dr. Seuss book asking that people leave a message or wish for Gavin so we can read it for years down the road. Since the 1st birthday is generally the biggest birthday celebrated, I wanted Gavin to know all the people that were there to celebrate with him.

I bought that black G and both frames pictured from Michael’s in the clearance section. The money was well spent because I can use them after the party too. #moneysaver

I laid out pictures of him growing from month to month.

This was one of the projects that didn’t get finished. I wanted to put card stock behind them and then make numbers out of card stock to clothespin to the pictures. Ah well.

I bought some jungle sunglasses and masks so the kids attending would have something to take home and/or play with that day.

For as inexpensive as they were, I loved them!

The O-N-E scramble boxes were from Etsy. Another inexpensive find, but after getting them, I totally should have made them. Too easy.

Oh and did you see those animals pictured?

Those were my pride and joy. I had initially planned on making one for every table, as the centerpieces. That quickly changed after I made the first one. It took me THREE and a HALF HOURS to make the giraffe.

So I went down a size in the styrofoam balls. It shaved off a half hour but spending 3 hours per table was just not happening for me.

But how. freaking. adorable. are they? I mean, seriously?

Loved them!

Completely free-handed with lots of blood, sweat, and tears.

Ok. Maybe not any blood.

That’s as lie. I totally cut my hand once while I was trying to cut the tissue paper into squares. Oh lord.

Moving on…

I also made a banner that we hung at the very front of the room. It was the first craft I did. I was pleased with how it turned out.

Hard to see in that picture, but it’s up there :)

Can you believe Brandon and I didn’t take a picture with the birthday boy prior to the cake smashing? I even got him a super cute custom onesie. (also from Etsy)

You can almost see it in that picture.

I served a taco bar for lunch, complete with a crap ton of tortillas, onions and green peppers (sauteed in EVOO by yours truly), fresh diced tomatoes, queso dip, refried beans, fiesta cheese, and taco dip. It was good but we had a TON of leftovers. I was estimating 4 tacos per person thinking men might eat a little more and women and children a little less. Wow. Was I way off. I made 18 pounds of meat that was almost completely devoured but I had like 400 tortillas left. Insane.

After we ate, it was time for presents!

Gavin got SO many great gifts. We are blessed with great friends and family that spoiled him!

He loved his first ride from Grandma and Grandpa too.

He kept trying to get on it when we got home but isn’t quite tall enough yet. Soon, little man. Real soon.

Then it was time for cake. Let me take a second to preface this. I wanted a three tier cake. I know that sounds fancy. But it wasn’t. Trust me. So I went to our local bakery that makes amazing, delicious cakes. They wanted $231 dollars. For a 1st bday cake..? Get outta dodge.

My sister in law tipped me off that Wal-Mart might be able to make it for a lot cheaper. So I brought my picture to them. They wanted $138. Still outrageous. To me anyways.

I asked if they had any books of cakes they can make. I found a jungle one, asked the price… $42 plus they gave me a free smash cake. SOLD!

I originally wanted to make Gavin’s smash cake because we’re still on the fence with him about dairy and I’m not a fan of food colorings, etc. But I ran out of time.

He didn’t seem to mind it was store bought ;)

It was THE perfect day. Beautiful weather, beautiful people to share it with, and a handsome, perfect 1 year old.

Hope you had a wonderful birthday, baby boy!

Momma loves you!

 

 

Edited to add: Birthday Express contacted me and honored me with a Birthday Badge because they loved my party so much.

photo BestBirthday_zpsa6c2c38a.png

Thanks Birthday Express!

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